Safety! Itís a word that caters much attention in our society at the moment. The rise of criminal activity threatens the security of businesses, the personal security of residents and the security of our tourism industry. Safeguarding this major industry in our country is essential to the livelihood of all Belizeans.

When the slow tourism season kicks in, we see a raise in criminal activity on the island. This is something that we have not been able to control or even lessen at times. The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) is celebrating its 25th Anniversary and centering its focus on a series of issues with the hopes to reinforce its message of celebrating diversity while advocating for responsible tourism development.

Advocating responsible tourism development also means an increased advocacy on safety and security in general. The negative effect of the sensational criminal activity on daily life and business operations prompts concern and requires the assistance of all. Late last year, in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, BTB and the public sector security agencies, BTIA kicked off a series of safety and security consultations in the tourism destinations across Belize.

With this in mind, the San Pedro BTIA hosted Mr. Juvil Eliahou and Mr. Michael Williams of Maritime Security so that they may give a short presentation about crime in Belize, as well as the likelihood of a variety of new types of crimes appearing in the nation.

The meeting took place Banyan Bayís conference room on Thursday, January 21, where Mr. Elaihou proposed the creation of a private security system for the entire island; his private security firm would be operating the system. Mr. Eliahou, who lives in Guatemala, is an Israeli trained expert in risk management and protection strategies. Mr. Williams has created a company called Maritime Security which is operated in Belize City.

The proposed security system for the island involves his security techniques that concentrate on defensive tactics and prevention of criminal acts. Maritime Security would use state of the art equipment and methodology with involves 24 hour visual surveillance form an operation center, panic alarms, motorized patrols and a quick response force.

Mr. Eliahou and Maritime Security have already scanned the island to set up a proposed security monitoring system that promises to curb criminal activities and elements. To do this, major funding is necessary, funding that on an individual scale would, for the most part, be unaffordable to many businesses or single resident.

What the BTIA had in mind was to present this new security system to its members and island stakeholders in order for the entire community to come together to come up with a possible way of funding the security system that would benefit the safety of the entire island. To the BTIAís dismay, after sending invitations to a broad spectrum of the business sector and its members, the meeting was not very well attended and there was also the absence of a representative from the San Pedro Town Council.

The BTIA believes that this service could be of great assistance of deterring crime on the island, but the participation of everyone is needed for it to be successful. At this point it is either left up to the hands of Mr. Eliahou, Maritime Security, BTIA or the San Pedro Town Council to pitch a perfect plan in which the entire community would be willing to jump into.

To learn more about this possible plan you may contact Maritime Security at 227-1158 or the San Pedro Chapter of BTIA, Mrs. Catherine Paz at 226-2012.

Ambergris Today